New year, new you? It’s about that time of the year when everyone makes promises to be a better version of themselves—happier, healthier, perhaps richer. Whatever floats your boat. One big change I like to make during this time is to declutter my life—both in reality and online. It’s probably cliché but every once in a while you should clean out your social media accounts the same way you would clean out your closet. The term “cleaning up your social media” usually refers to making your online profiles and social media pages look great to potential employers but it has a different meaning for me. When I clean up my social media accounts, I unfollow pages and people on social media that make me feel bad about myself, add to my stress, or ones that just don’t improve my experience on social media. And that changes all of the time but I especially like to start the new year with as much positivity as I can. But what I have noticed is that, as I have done this more than once, sometimes pages seem innocent or harmless but some were having an affect on my mental health and I was completely unaware of it. There are certain types of pages we’ve all come to associate with negativity like gossip pages, some news outlets, certain celebrities, or ones with unrealistic or unhealthy images of what people “should” look like. But there are a few sneaky ones I didn’t even realize were contributing to my depression and anxiety. Here are some pages that I stopped following to declutter my feed that might surprise you.
I know, you’re thinking what? At one point I was following dozens of food/recipe pages on Instagram. I love food and cooking, so it seemed logical that I’d follow pages or people who shared awesome recipes and mouth-watering pictures of food. However, I noticed that most of these pages suggested restaurants I couldn’t go to (because of distance or budget) and most had complicated recipes I’d say I would try but never did. I began to feel anxious about cooking because it seemed complicated, especially after I became a mom and was super busy. Also, I had major FOMO (fear of missing out) because I don’t get to try as many new restaurants like I used to. I had to readjust the pages I followed for food and recipe inspirations. I cut back on how many of these pages I follow and also I made sure the pages I did follow actually contributed something positive to my life like making cooking fun and accessible again. Or pages that recommend restaurants I can actually go to because they’re nearby or are great for kids since I now have to consider my 3-year-old.
At first, I followed clothing brands or fashion gurus because I thought I would get ideas or inspiration. Also, I thought it was a good idea to have alerts on new trends and sales. However, I would “like” pictures of looks or outfits that didn’t fit my budget or lifestyle. I felt overwhelmed because all the fashion and styles that were “in” had no place in my life. Brands I had supported for years were no longer what I needed or liked but I felt like changing was a bad thing. I found myself constantly looking at images of women that looked and dressed nothing like me. And I was playing the comparison game constantly. Why can’t I fit into this brand anymore? I used to be cool, why can’t I keep up? I felt pressured to buy things I didn’t need. It was overwhelming. Now, I rarely follow brands or companies because I don’t want my whole feed to just be filled with things I “should” buy. If I do follow a brand it’s in my budget, diverse, and body positive. Also, it’s important to me that the products or brands I support match with my lifestyle and beliefs.
It’s no secret that makeup and makeup artists have been completely reinvented because of social media. Makeup pages rack up a ton of likes and gain millions of followers. I consider myself a natural person who rarely wears makeup, and so I find it all confusing and complicated. Makeup is nothing like it was for me in high school and college when we’d just dab on some foundation and lipstick. So, naturally I followed makeup brands and artists to help me figure it all out. But instead of feeling less overwhelmed, I felt completely lost. I was bombarded with products, ads, and techniques. One look required so many tools, products, and time and I just about gave up. But again, I was following based on popularity and not based on my own personal needs. Now, I’m very particular about what type of beauty brands/pages I follow. They have to fit my style, budget, and have to be easy and quick.
Here at Life On The Up, we love inspiring our readers. So it may come as a shock that I unfollowed a lot of motivational and inspirational pages. I was following A LOT. And I noticed that I wasn’t feeling quite as inspired, positive, or motivated as I had hoped. But why? I would read an inspirational quote, feel great about it, but then that feeling would fade as quickly as it took me to double tap. I think seeing so many positive quotes made me numb to the actual message that was intended. Also, it felt kind of fake or didn’t connect with me after a while. I needed pages with actual tips, honest stories, and pages that didn’t just sound like a Hallmark card. It needed to be informative, honest, and raw. So now, I follow only a few. I follow pages that are informational and practical. Everyone is different and not all motivational pages are the same. It’s important to find what kind of pages work for you and help you.
When social media was brand-spanking-new (I’m showing my age a bit) it was cool to follow celebrities. It was refreshing to see their personal pictures and to get a glimpse of their lives out of the spotlight. However, recently, most celebrity accounts feel like ad space in cute little squares. They are constantly pushing products I doubt they actually use. I found myself rolling my eyes mostly or feeling worse about myself. I felt like I was behind, not doing enough, and just not able to keep up with the perfect world people portray on social media. For me, it was pointless to follow celebs, because I’d know what was going on anyway from my friends and family who’d post or share celeb news or I’d see or hear something about their lives on TV. It didn’t make sense that I was constantly updated on someone else’s life that had nothing to do with my own. And so, I don’t follow celebs anymore.
There are some people we wish we didn’t have to follow on social media. If someone is toxic in my life, I cut them off. But sometimes there are people who are not quite toxic but are irritating like relatives or coworkers. Not adding them or unfriending them may cause more tension and drama than necessary. So, I recommend “hiding” their posts from your feed. Facebook and Instagram have options where you can still keep someone added, but see less or none of what they post. I have done this to several people. So I may not have technically unfollowed them, but I don’t interact with them on social media or see their posts.
Though I believe we all should be informed of what’s going on in the world, I wanted to be in control of when I was informed especially when it came to triggering or sad news. I don’t follow news outlets on social media because I never know when something will pop up or what will pop up. When I’m ready to get updates, I’ll turn the TV on or look up certain events or topics online on my own time. Waking up to negative or devastating news isn’t something I like to do. Also, if I’m having a bad day or going through a difficult time, I like to stay away from certain news.
How will you clean up your social media in 2020?